In the past year, more than 100 child marriages have happened in one union of the Bhola Sadar upazila. These marriages have touched 59 girls from a single school. This information was gained by talking to teachers, students, parents, and family members at four schools in the Bheduria Union. It has been said that these marriages were performed by a Qazi (marriage registrar) called Sana Ullah and nine people who worked for him. Sana Ullah is the Joint Secretary of the Krishak League in the Bheduria Union.
It was learned from talking to people in the area, teachers, students, and parents that more than 100 girls from three secondary schools and one madrasah in Bheduria Union were married off as children between January and November.
All of the 59 students from Bankerhat Cooperative Girls’ School who were married were underage. There were 8 students from the sixth class, 10 students from the seventh class, 12 students from the eighth class, 14 students from the ninth class, and 15 students from the tenth class. Also, 20 girls from North Char Bheduria Secondary School and about 25 girls from Bankerhat Islamia Alim Madrasah and Bankerhat Secondary School have been married off even though they are too young.
Hadisur Rahman, headmaster of Bankhat Cooperative Girls’ School, said, “Parents who live below the poverty line marry off their daughters if they can find a good match. But we can’t know this ahead of time. They don’t care about the law, and the kids don’t tell us either.”
A local man named Khairul Islam and an imam from a nearby mosque sent written complaints about Sana Ullah to the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Law in April and to the Senior Secretary (Public Security Department) of the Ministry of Home Affairs on October 10. The complaints were about multiple issues.
Touhidul Islam, a Bhola Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), told Prothom Alo that he would look into the charge sheet sent to the Ministry of Law and take action if he got it. But it hasn’t reached him yet.